I hereby complete 45 days.

Since this year began, I have written and published each day. (Some “days” were completed 2 am the next morning, but I pre-determined that to be okay.)

I only once spewed a first draft, tabbed to publish a different writing, and forgot to polish the original spewing. A technical success, but not within the spirit of the law (nor something I’d like to repeat).

Since May 2017, I’ve written every day. (In addition to that half-time, I’ve only forgotten once, wherein I wrote twice the next to compensate). I’ll continue this habit, probably for the next eight years. That would make ten. Hell, I could do this for life.

What if my dating profile were just a list of my values?

What if my dating profile were just a list of my values? After all, that’s what I’m searching for.

My values, 9 Feb 2019

(In the order they came to me)

  1. Clarity
  2. Positive impact
  3. Humor
  4. The human species
  5. Art
  6. Animals
  7. Honesty of impact, not necessarily of speech
  8. Freedom
  9. Writing
  10. Exploration
  11. Freedom
  12. Games
  13. Family
  14. Word choice
  15. Sex
  16. Touch
  17. Personal optimization
  18. [Censored for privacy]
  19. Privacy
  20. Sleep
  21. Personal improvement
  22. The youth group I advise
  23. [Censored for privacy]
  24. My long-form creative projects (especially my novel. Soon to be my TV show as well)
Previous values that no longer carry such great strength:
  1. Habits
  2. Winning
  3. Poker
  4. Board games (comes back out when I’m with old friends/family)
  5. [Censored for privacy]

We used to make plans.

As a kid, I’d schedule a play date weeks in advance. These days, even when after confirming a reptile festival the day before, I still assume a 50-50 chance my friend bails. When he does, 8am day-of, I’m annoyed. I’m confused. How much is him and how much is changing culture?

I’m not here to tell you, “Something is lost.” It is, but that’s not the point. Instead, it’s simply that some things have changed:

  • We’ve lost certainty and confidence.
  • We’ve gained flexibility and opportunism.
  • We’ve lost reliability and comfort.
  • We’ve gained the more frequent upgrades.
  • We’ve lost security in friendships.
  • We’ve gained the freedom to follow our whims.

If people still lock down plans, I don’t know them. My friends might be outliers, or perhaps the Bay Area’s incessant climbing keeps everyone on the lookout for upgrades. Or maybe this experience is a worldwide phenomenon. Faster communication means more rapidly changing circumstances.

No matter the reason, I must adjust. It’s a tough lesson to learn. Negative punishment can easily become mis-associated. In this case, to self-blame:

  • “What did I do that made him cancel?”

or, worse,

  • “What’s wrong with me that made him cancel?”

I try not to see it in those ways. I try to see it as the new world order. I think that’s accurate, but I’m not sure. Are you? 

#LoveCrunchTime

Why do I consistently wait until the last minute to complete work? (I recently completed my largest project of all time. I had over a month to complete what amounted to 44 hours of work, yet I still crunched through 38 hours in the final two days, staying up until 5:30 am and evolving into a giddy, manic machine).

  1. Being in time-crunch is thrilling and I enjoy a good rush.
  2. It makes work take less time, and I don’t like work. (Since I don’t have time to lollygag or double-back, I don’t lollygag or double back).
  3. “That’s a problem for future-Julian, and what has that guy ever done for me?”
  4. I’m a lazy fuck… who does what he promises. (I would never do it, but that’s not an option so I come as close as possible.)
  5. The system works so I have no incentive to change it.
  6. You never know when the teacher will change the assignment last minute. Did I say “teacher”? I meant “customer”. They’re shockingly similar.

Why “Always Better”?

Why do I call my blog “Always Better”? Four reasons:

  1. It should be strictly better than some other activities. Eating popcorn or browsing Reddit, for example: this blog should Always be a Better use of time.
  2. I Always want to be a Better writer. Better than who? Better than I was yesterday. Better than I was this morning. Better than I’ve ever been.
  3. It’s a pun for what I wanted to be when I started the blog: Better in All Ways. [1]
  4. They say creative lives are a gamble.  That makes this blog is a bet, which means I’m Always Betting.[2]

[1]  I no longer want that. Instead, I’ve turned off improvement in some areas to focus more on the few I care strongly about.

[2] I haven’t fount my creative life particularly gamble-y, but that’s a topic for another time.

I hope he realizes he’s a Little Shit

“Fuck you!” yells the boy-child biking past. He pauses a moment, then adds, “And your mom!”

His comment fills me with Righteous Joy in these final moments completing my cycle home. See, I was once a Little Shit too:

  • In 4th grade, I fist-fought over a chair.
  • In 6th, I bit a 3rd grader. I did, however, apologize to him! (… this year.)
  • The summer after 9th, I realized my loneliness wasn’t the world’s fault. I lacked friends due to that aforementioned Shittiness. (That same summer, I discovered women. Coincidence? I think not.)

As a reformed Shit, I now carry the mantle of informing Shits when they’re being Shitty.

In advising a youth group, I once explained to a high school senior the reasons it’s inadvisable to urinate in a public school trashcan. To get through to him, I employed the phrase “sex offender registry.”

I yell “Yo!” when it becomes first apparent this boy-child biker is being Shitty. He hurtles down the two-lane path at a rapid pace, clearly intent on swerving around the woman-with-dog and into my lane of the tight, dark tunnel. Upon hearing my yell, he slows, so I relax… but then the Shit passes her anyway! At the same moment as me! Dangerous? Yes! And also stupid as fuck! Maybe wait for half-a-second, Dumbass?

After passing into safety, I holler, “Don’t do that!” (admittedly as a schoolmarm would chide a child), so he delivers the epithet invoking my mum.

I was a Little Shit once, but now recognize my Shitness. One day, I hope this Little Shit does too. ‘Til then, fuck him! And his mom!

Paul Simon

We don’t see musical legends to hear music; we come to view the divine. Headphones are better for music. I saw Paul so I could think, “That’s the closest to God I’ve ever seen.”

He opened with America, which stabs my chest with recollections of love for someone who disappears for months at a time. Then came hit after hit that even your kids would know.

He didn’t sing Bridge over Troubled Water or Mrs. Robinson – both #1s. “Maybe he doesn’t want to sing them without Garfunkel.” But he sang The Sound of Silence, and that was a Garfunkel song. (And anyway, it’s not about the music).

His solo pieces strip the man down to emotional expression. His body drops away and Paul becomes a voice, guitar, and poetry.

Can we substitute in a bad rendition of those two #1s instead of the string-backed songs he played that no one knew? Does he care about my opinion? Should he?

There goes a man who achieved his purpose. He lived a satisfying, accomplished life. What more is there?

How can my writing impact as many lives as his did, and still provide the high of thousands making pilgrimage en masse to realize I’m not God?